Is your business Instagram ready? Lessons for “foot traffic” marketers on main street

Go to any event and observe dressed up folks taking selfies. Or folks asking someone else to take a picture for them. Also observe how younger people are examining the background- i.e. the photo frame. The purpose of those photos is not to take a print and make an album. But to post on instagram!
To make all this photo posting more high quality, newer smartphones offer 2 and 3 cameras.
Pop-up museums have caught on to this trend. Here is a great video that explains the Art museum pop-up phenomena from Vox.

The need for everyone to take selfies is disrupting traditional museums. who did not allow photographing for copyright and damage to artwork from flash bulbs. Major museums like the Louvre,Paris now allows photographs without flash. Hotels too have got into the Instagram friendly game. See the pop-up breakfast visual in the food and wine article below. You can be sure that carb conscious guests are not consuming all those bagels. Instead, guests would be posting images of the bagels and waffles on instagram !

Pop-up Breakfast
If you have a business that has foot traffic Instagram promotion is a great option.All types of organizations with some “experience marketing”  including healthcare, education, gyms, apparel  and jewellery stores,restaurants,takeouts, home appliances, home repairs, insurance agencies,financial planners, lawyers  can benefit. Here are some inexpensive ideas:

  1. Observe your customers: In clothing and jewellery stores you see customers trying out stuff that they can’t do online. It might be easy to designate a space for tryouts. The only requirement is an attractive “Instagram worthy” backdrop or photo frame.
  2. Backdrops or photo frame ideas can be very inexpensive from balloons and pendants to the more expensive printed point of purchase stuff you see in grocery stores.
  3. Lighting is critical- the tryout corner should look like a photo studio in terms of lighting.
  4. Your Instagram hashtag needs to be displayed on the tryout corner and should invite the shopper to take a selfie and post on instagram.
  5. ‘Even when the shopper does not buy- if you can encourage an Instagram post.It spreads your word.

About  StratoServe for Digital Growth.

Resolve to change your web content fast in 2020

Change your website fast- StratoServe
Cyber Monday 2019 has had a record US online sales of sales of $9.4 billion out of which one-third is on mobile phones. It’s not surprising because if you see a bunch of people waiting anywhere – you see them buried in their cell phones.
We have advocated in earlier posts to make your website mobile friendly. Do the Google mobile friendly test. This post is about why you need to be able to change your website fast in 2020. But first:
Why is it so hard to change your web content? Here are some top reasons that we have observed:
  • There are many people involved- on the technical back end side. These could be an in-house tech team or a vendor agency.
  • Technical folks don’t seem to have clear instructions from their bosses. If you are the person doing the changes, your boss seems to give more priority to some managers than others.
  • Organizational politics play a big role. A less powerful department manager asks for a “contact us” form on a particular page. “The contact form is already there on another page”, the tech person reasons. He/she now needs to discuss with the technical boss. And this could take weeks unless the requesting manager keeps reminding. In case the requesting manager forgets and the tech folks forget- it never gets done. Meanwhile, the advertising agency keeps spending money driving traffic to the department page. The results are lackluster.
We urge our dear readers to resolve that they’ll work on improving web content change speed in 2020. Here are some suggestions to convince your colleagues:
  1. What does your audience do first? Before calling, emailing they go to your website. Usually through a search engine like Google.
  2. Address any initial questions that your audience has can on your website. Why? because people first research online as the 2019 online sales confirm.
  3. No one we have met, is “happy” with their website. This is strange, because website owners and the audience have conflicting needs. While owners like to “look good”, audiences need answers to questions. Before they start talking to you.
  4. So useful content is much more important than “looks”.
  5. If you are a line manager, responsible for any type of results . develop a routine to follow-up. Be relentless to follow-up for changes is necessary in 2020. Take your web folks for lunch- friendships help.
  6. Do not fall into the website “re-design” trap. It makes your organization “look” better but does not help your user. There are too many re-design stories of lost SEO (Search Engine Optimization) ranking. Because the old content now has a great look but a different url. Search engines take time to index your “new” pages.
  7. Ensure that your website is mobile friendly. If the 2019 mobile sales don’t convince you- ask your colleagues to look around. At how many people are on their mobile phones at lunch, at the theater, game or any public place.
In 2020, resolve to change your website fast !

Giving Tuesday: Why Non-Profits must focus on marketing their impact

Giving Tuesday
Today is Giving Tuesday, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. It’s timely think about the impact that a non-profit is able create and communicate . With 1.5 Million non-profits in the US, it’s hard for both beneficiaries and donors to find the non-profit that will actually make a difference. Most beneficiaries are incapable (eg too sick or too poor) or unaware (eg US opiate epidemic) that there are helping hands around.
Governments worldwide award non-profit status (in the US 501 (c) 3) to spur civil society engagement in social service. The non-profit status gives a tax break to the non-profit and also give some kind of a tax break to the donor. Governments hope that non-profits will take charge of the many social challenges of the time.
If you think about it, the only difference between non-profits and for-profits (businesses) is the tax break. Otherwise, both sets of organizations are trying to serve a customer or beneficiary. Businesses are more accountable because if customers don’t buy, lower profits turn off investors. Hence Wall Street earning calls are stressful for company leaderships.
Non-profit donors do not have the benefit of all the data that business investors have. For larger non-profits there are rating agencies like GuideStar and Charity Navigator who value things like low overheads vs impact. If you are a non profit and have high administrative costs, you can expect to get a poor rating despite the excellent impact you may have. This traditional rating approach leads to two problems:
  • Non-profits can’t pay employees as well as private business- for the same skills.
  • Results or impact is poorly managed. Most non-profits will not be able to tell you how many beneficiaries they touched in the last week. You can be sure that the smallest business will have a good idea of their recent sales and revenue.
So it was nice to see that a new start-up “Impact Matters” is trying to measure non-profits by impact. Adding to the existing methods of rating charities the start-up focuses on efficiency. So as a donor you know exactly what impact your individual donation would have. The methodology relies on a variety of data sources and the larger charities should be able to take advantage of this new service. But it is a great start. Check out Impact Matters.
Charity rating agencies like Charity Navigator are able to rate less than 10,000 of the 1.5 million US Charities. So for the rest of almost 1.5 million charities they need to get the word out about the impact they have. Here are some suggestions on how to do so:
  1. Do you have a prospective beneficiary list? This is the target market you are trying to serve. Developing a list is a great way to start as any B2B marketer will tell you. Once a beneficiary starts receiving your services – you now have a data point and – a story of your impact to share.
  2. Make sure you have your website up and running. If you have a website – check that is mobile friendly. Create a non-profit Facebook and Instagram business page. We notice that it’s hard to make quick changes on a website but easy to make changes on a Facebook business page.
  3. Empower your field staff to post on social media. It is your field staff who works with your target beneficiary. Most of your field staff are on Facebook already. Encouraging them to post impact stories on your non-profit Facebook web-page on a daily basis can help. Check with your legal folks if you need a waiver from your beneficiary. Think of sales and service people in business who have to file a daily report. Wouldn’t it be great if non-profit field staff filed their daily report on social media?
  4. The Google for Non-Profits grant is great. It gives you $10,000 ad money to spend a month to spread your message.
  5. Spend on marketing. Be bold in making marketing investments. If you can hire in-house marketing staff who can manage communications with beneficiaries as well as donors, do so. A good model to manage your digital outreach is to hire a competent agency. The agency should work with your field staff to to fine tune your outreach to both beneficiaries and donors. So long as you spend 65%  or more of your budget on programs that help your target beneficiary, you would be considered an “effective” non-profit. By consistently investing in your marketing  efforts you can ensure that you have a growing budget for the important work you do.

About StratoServe for Growth Strategy.

Why marketing attribution continues to be a problem

Ask any business about which marketing effort connects them with a new customer- and you’ll get a variety of answers
. “It’s all word of mouth (WOM)” , some friends lett us. Others say: “its face-to-face sales”, its “search advertising”, its” social media advertising”, its “social media posts” etc.
The backstory starts in the pre-internet age. Back then, sales folks were very reluctant to adopt technology because they wanted to keep their leads to themselves. After all, commissions depended on who “closed” the sale. In direct mail and catalogs, the coupon code and a mailed in order form identified which mailing worked. As digital and internet marketing developed, the legacy metrics were adapted and “last click attribution” became important. If you think about it “last click” or the ad that you clicked mirrored the “sales closing” and fitted neatly with the old direct mail coupon code model. All you had to do was to put some tracking computer code on the ad, email. At checkout, if the transaction had a web visitor who arrived from the ad, it was “Eureka” you had attributed the ad spend, specific email or ad to the purchase.
The trouble was that marketing and sales does not work on a last click basis. You do not buy on a single ad. As early as 2016, Search Engine Land had an excellent article by Christi Olson that explained the attribution challenge. Here is how to think about attribution in marketing:
  • What are customers doing today? It all starts with a customer need and your value to the customer. Sometimes the customer does not realize that there is a need and Steve Jobs invents the iPhone. In doing so, disrupts the phone industry, killing the phone booth. Remember, carrying coins to use at the phone booth? While at it, mobile phones also kill digital cameras, GPS devices, music players etc. Asking what the customer is doing today is a great place to start.
  • Are customers really doing nothing? Not true. It is surprising how many organizations rely on shuffling excel sheets instead of relying on a software system. Advanced excel skills are most valuable for fresh out of college employees. If you are selling software systems, there is no point in mocking rampant excel use. Accept, that there is something the customer is doing till they hear about your great product or service.
  • Do customers need to be educated? Yes, yes and yes. And this goes to advertising’s core purpose to inform, remind and persuade. The process of educating the customer is also called the “customer journey” starting at the top of the sales funnel (I didn’t know that I needed Alexa). For low cost items that involve only the customer (eg. a soda) the sales funnel can be pretty quick. As soon as more people are involved ( in most B2B) or the value is high (eg. a car with the family involved) the sales funnel can be long and run into years in complex sales.
  • What about multi-channel ? This Cyber Monday (2019) will be the biggest single day of retail sales online. Estimates are that 85% of the US is comfortable shopping online. While the order may come through on a desktop, the customer does most of her research on a mobile phone. Her research includes investigating a brand on Instagram in response to a friends post or an ad, and lots of video viewing on YouTube. Think of the customer journey as continuing beyond buying . You do want the customer to be happy and become your champion. Sometimes the customer checks out a YouTube video from you or your happy customer who explains a use question. Think of attribution as being multichannel. When a use question finds answers on Google or YouTube it goes towards progressing the buyer through the sales funnel. Each bit helps!
  • Why review, review and review? It’s useful to think about all forms of reaching the customer in the continuum of inform, remind and persuade- the objectives of advertising. Because you have a “Buy Now” call to action button in your ad does not mean the customer will buy immediately. However, when the customer just sees the ad,clicks on it or lands on your website- there is progress being made.Platforms like Facebook report (attribute) sales across platforms like mobile and desktop provided the customer is logged into Facebook. Google Analytics in contrast, relies on devices. So if you saw the Google ad on a mobile phone but bought on the desktop – the (poor!) ad does not get any credit. The important thing is to have a review meeting on a regular basis to see what results you are getting. Tracking tools like Google Tag manager, email tracking code, Facebook pixels are available for free. But they don’t help unless you review results regularly – they  just can’t help. And it just takes an hour a month to review for our clients.

About StratoServe for Growth Strategy.

Forever 21 : What is your strength – that customers value?

It is sad to see that Forever 21 filed for bankruptcy. Their backstory is fascinating and the 5 minute video backstory of Korean immigrants achieving the “American Dream” by Business Insider is worth watching. 

Unlike the typical sad “decline of US malls”  story and rise of “online retail” the Forever 21 story has important lessons for all businesses. It is also an eerie reminder of the New Coke fiasco,  To recap, Coca Cola did not realize in the eighties that customers did not drink Coke for taste but  it was all about “being American” – a much deeper meaning.

Here is what the Forever 21 backstory tells us:

  1. Understand what “value” customers see in your product: Businesses are constantly working on getting “new” customers.In doing so, businesses lose sight of why their loyal customers buy from them ? Thus Forever 21 expanded stores and product lines within the mall as the video explains. Their main strength was new clothing designs – frequently changed- at affordable prices. That is why customers visited their stores.
  2. Be careful about scaling: Unlike McDonalds, Starbucks  or Coca Cola where your goal is to provide a  uniform product and experience , Forever 21’s strength was rapid changes in product assortment- depending on the fashion of the day. The supply chain was agile and used to working at short notice. As soon as stores started expanding – something probably went wrong in the supply chain cost structure. Our guess is that the core strength of rapid fashion changes was forgotten. Scale in number of physical outlets and the focus on keeping prices low made the company forget its core strength that their customers valued most. Namely, current fashion at low prices. Like New Coke, shopping at Forever 21 was not equal to shopping at the mall but went deeper. People wanted latest fashions to the extent that the next time they visited the store they would see completely new designs. This had stopped….. yet Forever21 could not pick up the signals….
  3. Test changes small-Listen to Social MediaThere is a reason that McDonald tries out new products (like the Impossible Burger) at a few stores first. They have ways of measuring customer response. If successful, they’d roll out the product nationally. Similarly,  Forever 21 could have tried the new business model (of static fashion i.e. not changing offerings for second visit of the customer) at a couple of stores and seen the response. They also did not pickup social media signals as customers returned unhappy in seeing “nothing new”. Yes, competition from niche online retail was another thing to address but probably that was a lesser problem for them. Since their old model of rapidly changing designs had a supply chain that worked, it only needed online alignment. 

We do hope that our readers will pick up something from the Forever 21 story. We wish the very best to Forever 21 in their efforts to restructure with Chapter 11. 

About StratoServe for Growth Strategy.

Purpose of a Corporation : What every American needs to know

One of the most exciting things for business over the 2019 summer was when the Business Roundtable put out a Statement on the “Purpose of the Corporation.” Signed by 181 American CEO’s all of whose brands are well known to consumers or businesses, the statement reflects the changing times. Here is the  Roundtable Statement and check out the 181 signatures from many CEO’s of companies you are already familiar with.

American politicians have been telling us what we know to be true – the “American Dream” eludes most folks today due to rapid changes in globalization and technology. Thankfully, leaders of American businesses have taken notice and have decided to move their focus from the “next quarter” to “long term shareholder value” on the shareholder element and have included all stakeholders in the “Purpose of the Corporation”. The times have truly changed in the last decade with all stakeholders having a voice on social media and the old dictum of “just focus on shareholder (short-term) value”  can no longer work.  See Eric Posner’s article “Milton Friedman was wrong” in the Atlantic.

This blog assumes that the Round Table CEO’s have positive intent and they really do want to switch from a next quarter approach to long term value for shareholders. So why have CEO’s collectively become so pious? That question deserves an entire post but three quick thoughts. (1) As Warren Buffet has been saying investors should think long term and Americans are listening with increasing appetite for index funds. It makes sense for CEO’s to align with the changing investor.(2) Politicians worldwide realize that only citizens in their country can vote and if unhappy then the election results can’t be good. The politicians of all persuasions are pressurizing companies  to look out for their voters (3) There was no social media when Milton Friedman suggested that if companies focussed on dividends then individual investors would have the freedom to choose what charity they would like to support. Although more efficient if companies directly engaged in charity through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)  – Friedman thought that the individual investor would be disenfranchised in not being able to decide on which stakeholder causes she/he would like to support. Today all stakeholders can speak out easily and do so with speed and vehemence, unimaginable even ten years ago. The CEO’s are forced to address stakeholder’s problems – after the fact -with a lot of collateral damage to their reputations (eg. big brands caught up in the opiate crisis ). The times are changing too rapidly to stay only with short term shareholder value….

In any case,  assuming that the CEO’s have positive intent here is how Americans in private life and in their roles as employees, consumers and as public  need to think about each element in the Corporate Purpose statement.

About StratoServe.

The recycling crisis -what should you NOT be putting in your recycle bin

Monday was   Earth Day and it’s a good time to think about the recycling crisis facing the US. Last year China that took in most of the developed world’s recyclable trash decided to up it’s quality standards.  Do recyclables going into  the recycle bin have quality standards ?– the surprised reader might wonder. Yes they do as this article in Mercury News explains. It is timely for all to understand what you should NOT be putting in the recycle bin.

In the US there has been a move from multi-stream recycling to single-stream recycling. Multi-stream refers to different recycling containers for paper ,plastic, metal, glass with the consumer doing the sorting upstream. Multi-stream recycling had a consumer adoption problem in that people were just not using them enough. To improve recycling adoption by consumers there was a massive move to go to single stream recycling where you had all types of recycling in one container. The idea was that recycling facilities in the US would manually (yes manually) sort out paper, plastic, metal and glass and put them into bales before shipping to China. Since there was a lot of mixing up of different categories of plastic only 25% of a plastic bale could be recycled and 75% went to a landfill in China. With a booming economy and 1.38 Billion people being rapidly westernized in consumption habits – China had its own waste to dispose off. Since last year China has refused to pick up contaminated bales beyond a 0.5% mix up or if it has liquid. As the Mercury News article explains, Chinese inspectors are inspecting consignments in the US before shipping because if a consignment is rejected in China there is a huge cost for the US exporter.

The US seems to have a still functioning (not totally globally outsourced) metal and heavy glass recycling industry and  the big problem seems to be paper and plastic that come not just from the grocery store but also from all those packages from Amazon.

StratoServe-How Cardboard Recycling WorksTo understand how recycling works in a factory sense one needs to go upstream in the supply chain for each packaging material and better understand how each broad category of paper and plastic work in packaging. Here is a recycling diagram for cardboard boxes and it is similar for plastic bottles and those cartons plastic bags that may be a combination of plastics/metal/paper. Plastics and aluminum foil tend to be in contact with the product and are particularly useful in preserving food freshness.  The boom in online sales has added a whole lot of outer packaging that’s needed in two separate rounds – the first is shipping to the retailer (or online retailer) and then a different box to mail to the online buyer. These paperboard cartons can be made with recycled paper but tend to be less stronger than those made with virgin wood pulp from trees. Buying the correct cardboard cartons that survive transportation but don’t cost too much is something that purchasing and supply managers give a lot of attention. Normally retail stores are well trained to properly dispose off outer cartons that tend to be for both transport and retail display. 

The consumer however, does not realize that there is no magic in the sorting of all the stuff we put into that recycling bin. Towns collect recyclables and have a detailed list of what to put into the recycle bin. Every member of a household needs to read their recycle list from their town and follow it exactly. And that is not easy to do or expect.

However, US towns are remarkable in their excellent self Government through elected officials. Communicating the recyclable list through schools, local newspapers, facebook groups and online and offline ads can get all residents to understand what to put into the recycle bin. 

If there is clarity on what   you should be putting into your recycle bin then there are two big benefits:

  • The perceived low value paper-plastic recycling industry will revive in the US and create many jobs
  • The environment will benefit 

Here is a list of what recycling our town allows– ( please check your own town website- Google “what I can’t recycle -name of your town”)  because they might have a different list depending on their recycling contractor.

About StratoServe for Growth Strategy.

How TJX and Costco drive foot traffic in the digital age

Costco and  TJX Group (including brands like TJMax, Marshalls, HomeGoods etc.)  seem to be always crowded. And when you look at long checkout lines you know they must be doing something right to drive foot traffic in the digital age. TJX describes itself as an “off price” apparel and home fashions retailer while  Costco  is a paid membership bulk retailer focussed on quality products for their members, a commitment to employees and suppliers as mentioned on the Costco About Us section.

No matter what your brick based organization (including  healthcare and banks) – if customers can receive services online. They will avoid the friction that comes with visiting the store. For example, in medicine,  tasks like appointments, test results, refill requests, billing are digitized and patients extensively Google before meeting the doctor. Think about banking – when was the last time you went to a bank branch?… you get the picture.

Here are some video tips on shopping at TJMax  :

We were thoroughly intrigued by the observation that there is substantial traffic in TJX and Costco while US malls tend to be desolate. Here is our take:

  • Surprise and Delight  This seems to be the mantra for both TJX and Costco. The TJX shopper feels the excitement of  a flea market except that the brands are top names and the merchandise is new. The aisles are pretty stable so you would see the pants in the same place except that seasonal changes might be upfront. Costco follows a horseshoe layout (see first video above) but moves things around to add to the “surprise ” element.They seem to put out the most recent and fashionable stuff on the front of the aisles. the assortment is as expected, every time, but the specifics are a process of discovery and everyone seems to take great delight in finding deals.   For Costco , you know that you’ll get milk, eggs and toilet paper but the aisles of random stuff like “Coconut Clusters” with tastings makes buying easy. 
  • Encourage returns: At TJX you can try out whatever you want to and the fitting room counter lady (in most stores!) seem to be a little intimidating. Wonder if this is a strategy for you to simply buy and take the stuff home. If it is already reached home – there is an exponentially better chance that you’ll keep it ! Costco is famous for its return policy – but if it has reached your basement store- then the likelihood of hanging on to stuff increases. We don’t have access to data but it is  likely that people buy more than they return on a visit. Only a small fraction of shoppers seem to bring in returns that must be tagged after you show your membership card.
  • No in-aisle customer service: There is really no in-aisle customer service. While Costco has loyal members TJX seems to have perfected the art of making shoppers feel like members. This transfer of “responsibility” (to shop!)  to the customer is quite amazing. Educators and healthcare needs to pick up some ideas here. Perhaps it is the full package that encourages such “ownership”.
  • Can’t beat the price: Try searching online for a better price and you’ll be disappointed at both TJX and Costco particularly for under $10 items. There must be a whole lot of research going into setting store prices.
  • No way to look at store inventory before visit: This is absolutely brilliant. You cannot look for inventory for a particular item in a particular store at TJX without physically visiting it. You can leave an online store in seconds but if you enter a physical store between parking and searching you are looking at an hour or more- that many actually like to spend.  At Costco the in-store prices tend to be better than online prices and there is a different assortment in both particularly for the “long tail” surprise-delight items.
  • Email and Text: Both companies are active in reminding you that the “discounts” are disappearing- so it’s not that they are lagging behind in digital marketing.
  • Hours and Directions available online: For both TJX and Costco hours are quickly available on your mobile phone. They do want  you to come in but enjoy the fun of a visit while actually visiting.
  • Employee Focus: You really can’t do the above without employees who are very engaged and thinking about improving the customer experience. And lot of the hard work is done behind the scenes working with suppliers and systems. It does appear that the employee page at TJX  and the employee section  at Costco are not just “company speak”.

Clearly, something to learn for all  organizations that have products or services delivered from physical buildings. 

About StratoServe for Growth Strategy.

Why Dollar Stores are doing pretty well in a digital world

Next time you pass a Dollar Store in the US (including Dollar Tree and Dollar General) observe the parking lot. In towns rich and not so rich you’ll find that the parking lot is full most of the time.If you have not gone into a Dollar Store recently – do so and then compare the merchandise to Walmart. For a dollar the quality is not bad.

Dollar Stores took off after the 2008 recession and there are more Dollar Stores than McDonald’s in the USA.  Between Dollar Tree and Dollar General there are 30,000 stores and these are very densely seen in the mid-west and the farmlands of middle America.  A recent article “Sign of hope or worry- when the dollar store comes to town”  describes the mixed bag that these stores are for local communities.

And here is our take on the success of the dollar store model in the USA.

  1. What you can buy at Dollar Stores: There is  a  list of (low risk) items like decorating paper and a gift bag that you can buy at a Dollar Store. In fact here is a list of recommended 21 items from money talk news.  If you are wondering about buying food and over the counter(OTC)  medicines from the dollar store – they do seem legitimate brands and the only thing to watch for are the expiry dates. See advice from Quora about buying food from the Dollar Store. One community downside is that  the Greeting Card neighborhood stores are dying out  just as  bigger stores with retail space for these items is cutting back.  On the food front Dollar Stores have started fresh produce and reports indicate that the quality is as good as supermarkets.
  2. Easy location: Dollar stores tend to be in  easily accessible locations  but generally not too near a Wal-Mart or Target. In their product assortment, the risk per item is only a dollar so the consumer tends to feel that they can’t really loose.
  3. Once inside – you tend to pick up things: Once inside the store searching and finding one item you tend to pick up more items. Most customers seem to be checking out with 5-6 items and spending at least $10 each.
  4. The core target market: According to one estimate  the core target market were families earning less than $35,000 and on some form of Government assistance. However, more affluent folks in the neighborhood seem to be flocking to the dollar store. This does not help the local grocery store or the stationery and gifts store because they simply cannot compete with the buying and logistics strengths of the dollar store industry.
  5. Bottom of the pyramid focus :   Bottom of the pyramid  (BoP) is a concept  used to understand  lower income market segments in developing countries.The Dollar Store industry is sharply focussed on the US Bottom of the Pyramid market.Given the core target market of the dollar store industry certain products seem to have high margins. You get the picture when you see one roll of toilet paper sold for $1.

For the consumer and the Dollar Store franchisee the Dollar Store is a win for many products. And the dollar store industry seems to have found a niche in brick retail that Amazon can’t touch.

For the Dollar Store consumer is unwilling and  sometimes unable  to pay shipping or buy an Amazon prime membership.  Amazon too recognizes this and their One Dollar Amazon  Items page does not really have many one dollar items. Similarly Walmart does not have a  $1 aisle.

The Dollar Store industry model seems to be working against big online stores like Amazon and big brick retail  like Walmart.

About StratoServe for Growth Strategy.

What is 5 G? How marketers can get ready for 2020

5G is the 5th generation cell technology as the video above  and PCMag explains. Imagine that you have better connectivity than cable from your 5G hotspot or mobile and may as well truly cut the cord.Watch movies, play video games, enjoy virtual reality all through the 5G connection.

States like Connecticut are trying to get in early on this. US cell phone companies AT&T and Verizon have already rolled out their 5G offering and 2020 will be when major diffusion of 5G occurs. Just as the “Gig economy”  took off with the previous 4G smart phones- expect a whole new slew of innovation with 5G.

The two biggest attractions for marketers with 5G will be:

  • Mobility: With mobile use already at 3 hours 35 minutes a day in the US expectations are that mobile will surpass TV in terms of time spent in 2019. And that’s before 5G really kicks in.
  • Fast=Decrease in latency: Latency or the delay between asking and getting replies due to network speeds will vastly improve. Google will get you even faster replies but even your messaging can get faster. The day is not far away when at a restaurant you see the dessert ads on your phone even before the waiter asks at the end of your meal!

So what should marketers be doing to get ready for 2020? It depends on where you are in the mobile race but here are three basic tips:

  1. Be mobile friendly: No matter what your company size or web presence make sure that your website is mobile friendly. Check mobile friendliness here.
  2. Reduce speed clutter at your end: OK 5G is better than 4 G but test your mobile site clutter here. Fix the bottlenecks at your end so that you are not causing delays in response to customers.
  3. Ensure that you see https: Look at your home page URL and if you don’t see “https” or the lock sign you see at your banks website get your website secured. Currently Google Chrome declares your http:// site to be “Not secure” and that’s bad for visitor confidence. Surprisingly major organizations seem to be lagging on this.

If you have nailed the above it is time to think about how you can improve your customer relationship across the customer lifecycle. More in a later post.

About StratoServe for Growth Strategy.